Men Washing His Car

How to Clean Your Car for Coronavirus

At Baxter Subaru, we fully understand the concerns our customers have about exposure to COVID-19, or coronavirus. Many community members in Omaha, NE, are wearing gloves, regularly using hand sanitizer and cleaning items they purchase when they run their errands. What's often forgotten, however, is that once you purchase these items and load them into your vehicle, they are then touching the interior of your car. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that the coronavirus may live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. That means that you should be sanitizing the interior of your car to kill any germs it may have collected on your last visit to the grocery store or pharmacy. 

Car cleaner wiping car door with rag

How Long Does the Coronavirus Survive on Surfaces?

A difficult aspect in disinfecting your car is that the interior includes various surfaces. From soft leather seats to the plastic on the dash, several different tools may be required to fully wash your vehicle. According to the National Institutes of Health, the virus that causes COVID-19 is stable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic or stainless steel. Another study suggests that similar viruses can live on "inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to nine days."

Cleaning the interior of the car with a microfiber cloth

What's the Best Way to Sanitize My Car's Interior?

Begin the sanitization process by washing your hands first and, if you have them, we advise wearing disposable gloves during the process. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work well for sanitizing your vehicle. Just be sure to read the product's label to make sure it's safe for the surface you're planning to use it on. And if available, it's a good idea to keep disinfectant wipes and a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your car with you.

Worker washing of interior leather seats

How to Clean Leather Seats in My Car

Before you use any type of leather cleaner, be sure to test it on a concealed surface to determine that it will work well for your specific seats. While cleaning, use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the leather. Don’t have any leather cleaner available? You can mix two parts vinegar with one part water to come up with your own solution. Once the cleaning is through, apply a leather conditioner after for a finishing touch.

How to Disinfect Surfaces in My Car 

The most important areas of your Subaru to keep clean are the dashboard and the steering wheel. Bacteria tends to collect in these spots, as air is cycled throughout the vehicle. To clean your dash, simply use soap and water. Begin by using warm water and dish soap and scrub for 20-to-30 seconds. High-touch areas include your steering wheel and dash, so focus on those areas with frequency. Aside from that, emphasize your cleaning efforts on other high-touch places within your car. These surfaces can include:

  • Door Handles
  • Door Buttons
  • Key Fob
  • Steering Wheel
  • Inside Door Buttons
  • Seat Belts
  • Gear Shifters
  • Touchscreens
  • Buttons on the Dash
  • Buttons for Lights
  • Buttons for Windshield Wipers
  • Glove Compartment

Do I Need to Disinfect My Car's Exterior?

The sun and other weather elements make it less likely for germs to live on the exterior of your car. However, it's still wise to disinfect locations you touch frequently. Think of the door handles, handle buttons or gas cap.

Are There Disinfectants I Should Avoid Using in My Car?

If you want to avoid damaging your Subaru interior, don't use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. These can damage the vinyl and plastics in your cabin. You should also avoid any ammonia-based cleaning products used to clean glass, as they can break down the vinyl on the dashboard. Heat and light may then cause your dashboard to become sticky.

Here at Baxter Subaru, we want to do our part to help educate our customers and keep them safe and healthy during this difficult time. If you have any questions about car care or need assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Subaru dealership in Omaha, NE.

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